One of the many tasks marketing- and sales employees deal with is lead identification and qualification. This area of responsibility is referred to as lead management. With Microsoft Dynamics 365 users can easily create a lead by choosing from one of the modules within Microsoft Dynamics 365 (Sales/Service/Social/Marketing) and clicking on “leads”.
When clicking on the “+” button a new lead form appears, which has to be filled out in order to create the corresponding entity.
This form contains contact information, company information, data on the information source (e.g. internet, homepage, fair, campaign etc.), as well as criteria to evaluate the value of that specific lead, such as the estimated budget. The lead form also contains a collaboration field, showing the user who has contacted that lead (e.g. sales or marketing employee) for which reason (e.g. informing the lead about the latest products), using which medium (e.g. telephone, email). Within this field, users can also add comments, posts or attach documents which were sent to the lead. This feature is extremely useful, as all employees can view this information and have the latest information on that lead. The lead form also contains information on important stakeholders and decision-makers as well as information on competitors, which are equally interested in that specific lead.
Microsoft Dynamics 365 also offers the possibility to define qualifying rules. These determine whether a lead is „hot“ (meaning the leads requirements and budget concur with the organisations products or services) or „cold“ (meaning the leads requirements and budget do not concur with the organisations products or services). One can also define which steps must be taken by employees, dependent on the status of the lead. The system will make suggestions for actions, which serve employees as an orientation. These suggestions can be found within the process ribbon at the top the lead form. The process ribbon displays all process steps required for lead qualification. The flag-symbol shows the user which process step has been reached. The user can also so which step follows.
The lead qualification process consists of four process steps: „Qualify“, „Develop“, „Propose“ and „close“. In a first step all information on the lead, including criteria for lead qualification is to be gathered and documented. The next step includes completing the lead form by adding information on stakeholders and competitors. To establish whether a lead is really interested in buying products, employees will make that lead a proposition. The Leads reaction towards this proposition determines what happens next. In a last step the qualification process is finalized and the employee can qualify, disqualify or delete the lead, whereas the latter is not advisable, as then all information on that lead will get lost. Should the lead show interest in buying products the lead is to be qualified. In this case the opportunity form will automatically be opened and the contact and account entity will be created. If this opportunity leads to a sale is decided in a further validation process.
Another useful feature which must be mentioned is the possibility to convert an email to a lead, which saves you typing in all the information listed in the email. To do so one must install the Outlook Add-on.
All in all, the above mentioned features and functions help to simplify, standardize, customize and compress business processes, making them more efficient. Also sales and marketing employees can find all the information they need within one form, enabling them to better understand and convince customers. Qualification rules, the process ribbon and the possibility to convert emails to CRM entities are further useful functions, which help to relieve and support employees.
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